Sunday, December 19, 2004

The world's smallest violin - and the smallest credibility 

John Pilger pours his little heart out to interviewer Antony Loewenstein on the occasion of the release of Pilger's latest book, "Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism And Its Triumphs":
"Antony Loewenstein: It's increasingly difficult to get that kind of work published today, perhaps on the web but less likely in print. Do you think many people find this frustrating and look for alternative media?

"John Pilger: The obvious answer is yes. It is extremely difficult to get work like this published now because the media in Australia is so concentrated, the choices are so limited; it's a place of big sharks in a small pond."
Ah, the creeping climate of fear and the institutionalized censorship and suppression of dissent. My heart bleeds. Every time I go into a bookshop, whether it's Borders or the book section at K-Mart, the ratio of new anti-Bush, anti-right, anti-war, anti-free market books to new books taking the opposite, or at least a balanced view, runs something like ten to one. Maybe it's getting more difficult to publish a book like Pilger's because the publishing market is already so saturated with the literary output of the Moores and the Krugmans of this world? Maybe it's difficult to publish because the market for the anti-right propaganda is shrinking, and publishers, however ideologically committed they themselves are to the anti-Bush crusade, are finding it increasingly difficult to justify propping up money losing ventures? It's just a thought.

And while he's on a whining roll, Pilger can't help himself but to share his judgment on the war:
"We are living through the biggest political scandal of our lifetime - the unprovoked attack on a defenceless country justified by a series of documented lies, the killing of up to 100,000 people and the devastation of that society. We have seen an increase in child mortality and people are drinking water mixed with sewage, along with toxic contamination including depleted uranium throughout the country. What has been done to that country, on top of a dozen years of economic sanctions driven by the United States and Britain and supported by Australia, is an epic crime."
Saddam? Who's Saddam? Baath Party? Never heard of them. Let's go back to the national-socialist paradise that was Iraq prior to 2003. Or at least a paradise it was before that "dozen years of economic sanctions." Oops. Still more Saddam. And the Baath Party. Iraq-Iran war? What's that? Somebody's been drinking sewage mixed with depleted uranium, and it's all coming out again.

And this, to finish: "I interviewed Professor Richard Overy, one of the world's leading authorities on Nuremburg and international law, last year and he said that under international law, what had happened in Iraq was a major crime against humanity, and Bush and Blair could be in the dock. Imagine that perspective, that truth, in our media."

I like Overy, and he writes good books about the Second World War, but I lost all professional respect for the man a few months ago, when he compared the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib with the treatment of Russian POWs by the German Army in World War Two. Somebody exhibiting such degree of moral blindness, not to mention seemingly willful ignorance and lack of perspective has no credibility as a historian or a commentator. Not surprisingly, them, that Pilger quotes him as an authority.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?